Mike Mushok can't wait until you hear his band's new album, the whole damn thing, front to back. That's because for the first time since 2001's chart-topping behemoth Break the Cycle, the Staind guitarist has that old familiar feeling.
"I know right now that I could play our new record, beginning to end, and not have any problem with it," Mushok said. "I don't think I felt that with [2003's 14 Shades of Grey] for some reason. I mean, I loved that record. I'm proud of it, and I thought there were some really good songs on there, but it really didn't turn out exactly the way I wanted. This new record, to me, has that feeling — that when I am playing a song for someone, I'm sitting there, looking forward to playing the next song for them and the song after that."
The new record Mushok is describing is Chapter V, the fifth offering from Staind and the band's first album on Flip/Atlantic Records. While a definitive street date hasn't been firmed up yet (Staind singer Aaron Lewis' wife is pregnant and due in May, "so it will be sometime shortly after that," Mushok said), the record is expected to drop early this summer. Mushok added that the band intends to spend most of the summer touring in support of Chapter V; but again, the imminent birth of Lewis' child has put finalizing those plans on hold for now.
Mushok said Chapter V will feature 11, maybe 12, new Staind tunes, among them "Paper Jesus" and "Falling," along with "Right Here," a strong contender for the album's lead-off single.
Staind finished mixing the record last week, after spending the better part of the past eight months writing and recording it with producer David Bottrill (Tool, Godsmack, Peter Gabriel). Mushok said Staind brought Bottrill in to helm the project because with Chapter V, the band was planning to take a much different approach to the recording process and wanted a seasoned pro on board to assist with the shift.
"He's on the East Coast, which made it easy because we basically put together a studio in our rehearsal space [in Massachusetts]," Mushok explained. "Other than drums, we tracked everything there. It was nice because in the past we were all over the place. Even when we did the drums, we tracked them just outside Woodstock, which is only like two hours for any of us [to get to.] So we could go in to the studio, come home at night, and work on the record that way."
Mushok couldn't say for sure whether being closer to home affected the sound of Chapter V in any quantifiable way, but he thinks it may have, because "this record, sonically, is a lot better than the last one, for sure," he rationalized. "We tried to approach things differently than we have in the past, through arranging, sonically, different amps, different guitars. And I think being in your own space allows you the freedom and the time ... to actually do that."
Asked whether there was any deep-seated concept behind the record, bonding all of the tracks together, Mushok quipped, "Just to write a dozen great tunes — that's the concept."